Hubblo VR revealed an affordable, portable, 4K, stereoscopic, 360-degree, live-streaming camera that will hit the market in the spring for $999.
This is a record breaking year for CES. According to Shawn DeBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Technology Association that produces the expo, 2017’s CES features more booth space than ever before, and this year, more than ever, the show floor is packed with new startups. DeBravac said one in five CES exhibiting companies didn’t exist in January 2016.
Hubblo VR is among the sea of startups hoping to leave a mark on CES attendees this year. The new company’s first product is a portable 4K 360-degree, stereoscopic video camera with live-streaming capabilities for the consumer market. “We are making products for two to three years in the future," Hubblo VR founder and CEO Eric Tsang said, "not copying something that already exists.”
Hubblo isn’t the first portable 360-degree stereoscopic camera that we’ve seen. Humaneyes Technologies introduced the Vuze camera at CES 2016 with the promise of 4K resolution stereoscopic 360-degree recording capability for under $1,000. The Hubblo camera offers the same capability and more. Hubblo allows you to live stream your footage in 4K wherever you go. All you need is access to high-speed internet over an Android or iOS device.
The Hubblo camera is lightweight and portable. The company said the camera is “shorter than an iPhone 6” and designed to be used as a handheld. The camera also features a tripod mount in case you don’t want to hold on to it while filming, an internal rechargeable battery that offers up to one hour of untethered use, and a microSD card slot for local storage.
Hubblo features a triangular structure, which allows for full 360-degree coverage with fewer lenses than competing cameras. Humaneyes chose a square design with four sets of two camera lenses to capture its surroundings. However, Hubblo gets the same video coverage with three sets of two cameras thanks in part to its wide FOV (200-degree) fisheye lenses. Each lens is accompanied by a dedicated 4K camera sensor to provide a high-quality image output.
Piecing It All Together
A good 360-degree video experience starts with a high-quality sensor and good optics, but the best camera hardware in the world still requires technology to stitch the various view together seamlessly. The Hubblo camera is designed to address this problem too.
“We wanted to deliver an all-in-one package: 4K live streaming and great stitching; 360-degrees and full 3D vision; affordability and great design,” said Tsang. “None of the winners of the this year’s CES Innovation Awards in virtual reality categories, for example, have all of these features in a single package.”
Hubblo VR’s camera features patent-pending hardware algorithms that allow for real-time video correction and stitching. Hubblo features Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) circuits that monitor video data from all six cameras, correct distorted images, and combine the corrected feeds in real time. Hubblo said its hardware algorithms are “customized for high-performance data processing, including image capture, image pre- and post-processing, stitching, blending, and stereoscopic cascade.”
The Hubblo camera takes the six 4K feeds and combines them into a corrected and stitched 4K 360-degree stereoscopic video at 30fps. You can store the video locally, or you can live stream the recording over a broadband internet connection. The Hubblo camera syncs to your Android or iOS phone over Wi-Fi, and a companion app broadcasts the feed over your internet connection.
“Hubblo makes it simple for anyone to virtually share an experience and communicate at the same time,” said Tsang. “Artists, performers, event hosts and anyone who wants to expand their audience beyond a physical location can simply do it with the push of a button.”
The company plans to launch the Hubblo camera in the coming months. It hasn’t announced a specific release date yet but said the camera should be “readily available in Q1 2017.” The company said it will launch pre-orders through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and plans to give early backers “special discounts.” Early backers will also gain access to “exclusive live VR events sponsored by Hubblo.”
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Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.